Galapagos Lifezones PDF Print E-mail
COASTAL ZONE

The lowest life zone on the island is the coastal zone. Those plants that exist on the seas edge can be divided into two portions the Wet Coastal Zone or Mangrove Zone and the Dry Coastal Zone or Beaches and High Tide Areas . Mangroves live in the Wet Coastal Zone. These salt-tolerant trees and shrubs thrive in shallow and muddy saltwater or brackish waters. In the Galapagos there are 4 varieties of Mangroves including the Black Mangrove, White Mangrove, Red Mangrove , and Button Mangrove.

galapagos lifezone

ARID LOWLANDS ZONE

As an island slopes from the beach to an elevation of about 197 ft (60 m) elevation an arid desert like zone occurs. This region is home to the many Cacti that live in the Galapagos including the Prickly Pear Cactus, Lava Cactus and Candelabra Cactus . Vine plants also make their home in the Arid Lowlands. The endemic lava morning glory and endemic passionflower can be found in this zone. At the top of the Arid Lowlands the silvery leafed Palo Santo Tree with its collection of lichens can be seen.

TRANSITIONAL ZONE

Rising up the island, plants become more frequent. In the Transition Zone plants from both the Arid Lowlands and the Upper Moist Zones occur. This zone is home to a variety of small trees or shrubs including the endemic Pega Pega Tree and the endemic Guaybillo, which produces a small white flower that develops into a fruit similar to its cousin the Guava. The Galapagos Tomato , endemic to the islands is a salt resistant tomato that has been used to create a hybrid, which is capable of growing in salty soil around the world.

galapagos lifezone

SCALESIA ZONE

The lowest of the "humid" zones this zone is named for the daisy tree that grows between 970-1970 ft (300 - 600 m) elevations. The Scalesia is one of the few trees in the Aster Family and grows to heights 16 - 50 ft (5-15 m) in height. Its trunk and branches are covered with moss and lichens. This area is humid and has the essence of being in a rainforest. Scalesia Trees have been greatly reduced in numbers since humans arrived in the islands. With them came pigs and goats, which devour the young plants and feed on older plants. People also introduced the Guava, a plant whose dense growth patterns steals nutrients and eventually makes it impossible for competing plants to survive.

MICONIA ZONE

Above the Scalesia Zone at 1950 - 2300 ft (600-700 m) is the humid zone named for the Miconia shrub that once dominated this region. The Miconia Robinsoniana grows to heights of 10-13 ft (3-4 m). Its leaves easily identify it with their yellow or reddish shading on the edges. The Miconia is endemic to the Galapagos, but since the arrival of man it has become the most endangered plant in the islands. Introduced cattle have grazed the Miconia into dangerously low levels.

PAMPA ZONE

On islands with elevations over 3000 ft (900 m ) the highest vegetation zone in the Galapagos can occur, the Fern-Sedge Zone or Pampa Zone . The appearance of this zone depends on the amount of moisture it receives. This region contains no true trees or shrubs. The tall Galapagos Tree Fern and Liverworts are commonly found in this zone.

 

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Galapagos Wildlife
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Galapagos Wildlife
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Galapagos Wildlife
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Galapagos Wildlife

 

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Galapagos Wildlife
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Galapagos Wildlife
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Galapagos Wildlife

 

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